I have noticed an interesting pattern when it comes to accepting certain types of talents – particularly entrepreneurship. For some reason, this is a talent people don’t easily recognise in themselves.
Granted, it’s not always easy to identify one’s talents. There are things you do well, easily and enjoy, which in your eyes is normal, no big deal. In other cases, you might suppress a talent all together, or so you think. Either way, in both cases you are not recognising your potential.
Last week I had two clients with strong entrepreneurial drives. In the method I work with, entrepreneurship is defined as the need to take risks, being courageous and adventurous, taking the lead, needing challenges, wanting to start a project from zero. Clearly, this drive needs to be seen in relation with other talents but let’s keep it simple and stick to this isolated talent.
Upon hearing about their entrepreneurial drive, both clients’ first reaction was one of surprise and denial – Me? Entrepreneurial?
Now, one of them had been talking a little while ago about her dream project of opening a coffee shop where events would be held, such as discussions and debates on interesting topics or books. The other client has turned an apartment he bought into an Airbnb business. Both had left their country of origin and moved to a country they hardly knew without having a fixed plan or job. Yet, for them, being entrepreneurial and taking risks? No way!
Enter Mr Inner Critic! This little voice that wants to maintain the status quo and keep you small and safe, plays a crucial role in preventing you from seeing yourself for who you really are. It can come from different places: lack of self-confidence, one bad experience, and often from our education.
Well-meaning people warn you, throughout childhood and beyond, about the dangers around entrepreneurism: that uncle who lost most of his money in that project; that CEO/founder who went bankrupt; an entrepreneurial friend who has no time for his family; and so on. The implicit or unspoken message, is to avoid taking risks and choose to play safe.
Subconsciously, these messages become ingrained and determine your thinking and being. Additionally, when hearing the word ‘entrepreneurship’ you probably think Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Steve jobs, and shrink away. Although you can become one of them, you can also be an entrepreneur at a smaller scale or even a great intrapreneur (leading entrepreneurial projects within a corporation). Entrepreneurship can take different shapes.
Bringing Mr Inner Critic into the picture and pointing out the entrepreneurial traits or ideas clients have, invariably leads to aha-moments and a feeling of liberation. It is important to learn to recognise your talents and distinguish the little voice of your inner critic. Don’t allow the latter to mess with your ideas. Rather give your ideas the place and drive they deserve for you to live a fulfilled life.